Scott Miller: Riding the bandwagon
I’ll admit I’m not an avid baseball fan. I’m still not sure what a “walkoff home run” is. But hey, how ’bout them Rockies?
It’s probably just jealousy, but there are those in the office who say Colorado doesn’t deserve a World Series team. The fans haven’t stuck with the team through thick and thin, they say, and the folks who have packed Coors Field the last couple of weeks are mere bandwagon jumpers.
Now that the Rockies are going to the World Series (please read that again, folks), expect the bandwagon to really start rolling. We’ll no doubt learn what brand of razor Matt Holliday uses to shave his head by the time the series opens in either Boston or Cleveland next week. Expect scads of babies born this month and next to be named Troy, or Todd, or even Yorvit. Yorvit could be a girl’s name, too, couldn’t it?
Bandwagon-riders aren’t supposed to be “true fans,” but let’s look a little deeper at many of those who are now riding the wave.
The Rockies were big stuff when they opened for business in 1993. But the hearts of Colorado guys of a certain age belong primarily to the Denver Broncos, and as the team became less competitive ” and less entertaining ” a lot of non-diehards decided there were better things to do in Colorado in the summer. You’ve probably done a few of those things yourself.
I’ve been to a few games over the years, thanks mostly to the generosity of others, but rarely took the time or spent the money to make the trip. Summer in the mountains is fleeting, friends.
But Rockies games were fun in the early years. The home team wasn’t great at fundamentals – especially pitching – but it was always amusing to watch the scoreboard light up like a pinball machine. And Coors Field is a great sports palace.
Despite its flaws, the team was pretty good early on. Not a lot of people remember that the Rockies had one of the best records in the National League when baseball attempted suicide in 1994 and went on strike. The team was solid the next year, making the playoffs as a wild card team.
Then the long decline began.
Due to a combination of rotten luck and inept player personnel decisions the Rockies didn’t have a sniff of the playoffs until this year.
Casual fans would scan the sports pages, see the Rockies had just dropped 12 of 15 games or some such, sigh, and wonder when Broncos training camp started. To casual fans – those who just wanted a team that appeared to have a commitment to something besides another season of suckitude – there were a lot of sighs over those years.
Until the team started its remarkable run a few weeks ago, it looked like the Rockies might have gotten over its “boy they stink” hump. People were starting to come back to Coors Field, even some native Yankees fans who may have discovered the team during its mid-season sweep of the former Bronx Bombers.
But there’s been a certain arms-length wariness with the Rockies this season, and it will probably last for a while. Those mid-summer tank jobs got old after a few years. Taking a rosin bag to the crotch, emotionally speaking, gets old after a while.
But the disappointment of fans, “real” and casual, is why there’s so much joy about the Rockies’ current streak. Only time will tell whether it’s so, but it looks like the team may have turned a corner that looked endless even in April.
So move over, friends, I’m riding the bandwagon. But I’m still wary of that rosin bag.
Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.